Anglo-Saxons at Keele

Whilst the Anglo-Saxons, in the guise of The Last Kingdom,  are making weekly appearences on BBC Two in the customary modern vision of the middle ages as blood, gore, and rumpy pumpy, all shot in super murkovision, we will be acting as hosts to two papers on more Mercian themes on Saturday 22 April 2017 at 10.30 a.m.when the Ranulf Higden Society pays its annual visit.

Dr Charles Insley (University of Manchester) and Dr Nigel Tringham (Keele University) will present on

‘The Mercians, the Merfynion and the Anglo-Welsh Frontier, 820-920’ and

‘St Edith of Polesworth and Tamworth: the medieval cult.’

Not sure about the Merfynion? Then the Last Kingdom isn’t enough! Come along and find out.

There is a modest fee and a buffet lunch is available if booked.

For further details click on the link to the society here Ranulf Higden Society.

The day is free to Keele undergraduates since we will reimburse the society.


Rude words up a maypole in Fenton

REED,  Records of Early English Drama,  is a longstanding research project which seeks to publish the surviving records of drama, secular music, and other popular entertainment

in England from the Middle Ages until 1642, when the Puritans closed the London theatres.  The volume for Staffordshire has just been published online at Dr Nigel Tringham, the editor of the Victoria History of Staffordshire, and a colleague here at Keele, is thanked in the acknowledgements.

It is well worth browsing, using the interactive map. In the mid-thirteenth century annals of Burton abbey, for example,  the report of an enquiry into the monastic life poses an eternal question: “Whether … food can be given to entertainers because they are poor, not because they are entertainers; and their plays should not be seen or heard, or allowed to be performed before the abbot or the monks.”  Did the monks secretly watch the plays, but mask their ticket purchase in the guise of charity?

In 1605 William Johnson of Fenton was indicted for climbing up the May Pole and  posting “verie fowle & filthie matter concerning dyuerse of his honest neighburs.”

I could go on …. but perhaps you should look yourself?